Rick Barry is managing editor of The Body Politic. He has worked on campaigns for local, state and federal office, is a former writer and editor for Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City and currently oversees communications for the Grace DC church network in Washington, DC.
When D. Leiva and I launched The Body Politic earlier this year, we were excited to bring together writers who inhabited different political cultures yet shared a common devotion to a common King in Jesus Christ. We suspected that creating a space online where these writers could share how their own approaches to politics are challenged by the gospel would be encouraging to many of our brothers and sisters. It seems that we were correct: Statistically speaking, if you’ve visited this site once, you’ve come back for more.
As you may have noticed, our publication schedule slowed down considerably this autumn. This is partly because I was facing some demoralizing health problems. (Nothing life-threatening, just persistent and exhausting.) At the same time though, D. Leiva and I have been working with a third partner on some exciting new projects that will help you put what you've been reading here into practice in your own life.
Introducing the Center for Christian Civics
We are excited to announce that we have partnered with The Social Good Fund to launch The Center for Christian Civics, a non-profit ministry equipping the church to be the church across the political spectrum. Before we came up with the idea for The Body Politic, we were thinking about what kinds of resources and programs might help our brothers and sisters witness to their partisan allies effectively. The Body Politic was one of those resources, but it was not the only one. Launching this new venture allows us to begin developing others, including two that are available right now:
We now offer a new online book store carrying a curated selection of books on faith and politics. For every book we carry, you’ll be able to find information from our editors on why the book is worth considering and how to understand its context. If you’re reading this site, you’re probably going to want the two books available now. The first, Obama Prayer: Prayers for the 44th President, is an excellent case study on how to follow the Bible’s commands to pray for political leaders. Our team considers the second, Body Broken: Can Republicans and Democrats Sit in the Same Pew?, to be one of the best popular-level books around for individuals or small groups looking for a place to jump-start their thinking on how their faith might influence their politics.
If sales go well, we’ll add at least four more books to the store over the next six months, including popular and more academic texts.
The Center for Christian Civics is officially offering three new workshops on politics and the Christian life. Being passionate about politics can make it difficult to experience authentic, challenging Christian fellowship, and working in politics can make consistent discipleship difficult. Our three workshops—available as stand-alone sessions or as a single half-day seminar—will empower you to experience rich Christian growth without leaving your political job or denying your political passions. If your church or small group is interested in hosting one of these workshops, you can find more information at the link above.
As part of our mission to help the church navigate the difficult waters of political life, The Center for Christian Civics now allows churches and para-church ministries to re-publish content from The Body Politic. Readers consistently tell us they think the perspectives being shared on our site would be helpful or encouraging to more people in their communities, and we want to be able to equip and encourage as many people as possible. You can read more about how to re-publish content from The Body Politic here.
The Future of The Body Politic
You might be wondering, "That's nice, but I just came here for the blog. How does all of this affect the blog?"
Well, at first, it won't. The name in the top left corner of the site will be different, but starting in December, we'll be back to publishing two or three articles a week, just like always.
Eventually, though, these programs will allow us to make The Body Politic better. Launching The Center for Christian Civics will enable us to grow The Body Politic from a blog with two or three articles a week when we have the spare time into a source for daily content that can encourage, challenge and edify you. We'll continue offering the mid-length articles we always have, but we'll also be able to offer more articles at a variety of lengths, including longer articles that go deep into specific topics and short articles acting as quick reminders of the gospel in the face of political stress.
Support Our Next Project
If you’d consider making a donation to The Center for Christian Civics (CXC), you won’t just be helping us run our workshops and keep The Body Politic going. Your donation will also help us produce new resources that churches and small groups around the country can use to work out how the promise of Christ’s return changes the way we think about politics today.
The first major project we are working on is a new Bible study curriculum on how to faithfully respond to the apocalyptic claims of a presidential election season.
We want to get this project finished and distributed to local churches in time for the primary voting season, but getting the curriculum written, workshopped, revised, promoted and distributed—all while keeping the rest of our programs running—could cost up to $10,000 over the next three months. Our partners at The Social Good fund provide us with essential administrative support, but raising the funds to resource this ministry happens through the prayerful support of people who believe that God could be moving through the work we are doing.
We’re honored to be a part of this new ministry together, and we hope that you’ll consider supporting us as we get started on this important mission.
Thank you for all of your support and encouragement over the last seven months. We really are just getting started.